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Janie DeCelles Volunteers to Save and Support Our Open Spaces

Janie DeCelles got to know San Elijo Lagoon when she visited with her late Aunt Hattie, a lifelong birder. “She could identify the birds in the lagoon just from their songs or calls and taught me to appreciate the breadth of birdlife here,” reflects Janie, a longtime supporter of Nature Collective.

When Janie is in nature she describes “a seemingly infinite array of colors, shapes, smells, designs and so much more.” Her passion for saving our open spaces inspired her leadership in the land acquisition of Nature Collective’s new permanent open space called Harbaugh Seaside Trails. In Janie’s view, this 3-acre coastal overlook is her gateway to Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

“One of the great pleasures of my coastal commute is the unfolding of the ocean, lagoon and the hills of Cardiff, looking like a little Mediterranean village,” shares Janie, who volunteered from the beginning of the campaign to save this land. 

Above: Janie’s late Golden Retriever, Tiger, is pictured on the overlook at sunset shortly after Nature Collective closed on the Harbaugh Seaside Trails property in December 2011. (Photo: Janie Decelles)

“Early on, I felt that it was important to show true grassroots support by having lots of individual donors,” adds Janie. “I thought that would enable us to have some leverage in approaching larger donors or institutions.” She hand wrote thank you notes to hundreds of donors.

Janie was one of the first major supporters to lend her talents to garner community financial support and joined the Harbaugh Seaside Trails Committee to help in the process toward permanent open space. She is deeply connected with Nature Collective, serving as our Legacy Circle chair for planned giving. She’s active in leadership with our President’s Circle.

Janie relies on nature’s healing, especially during COVID-19, with daily walks and work in her garden. She adds, “I hope that people will appreciate nature even more as a source of wonder and joy and comfort in our crazy world. Hopefully, it will get them to love it and want to learn more and yearn to conserve it for future generations!”

Janie is a special innovator who sees the potential and rises to the challenge. We are grateful for the impacts she makes in realizing open space for everyone, dogs included.

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